A guaranteed basic income could be a stabilizing force for Canada

Globe and Mail

Guaranteed basic income has become an idea that won’t go away. Maybe there’s a reason for that.

It surfaced again Wednesday at the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, which published a report on a “distributional and fiscal analysis” of a guaranteed basic income (GBI). It’s the fourth time in the past three years that the PBO has written a report on GBI; three of those reports have come in the past 10 months alone.

Why is the PBO examining this further? Because members of Parliament – of various political stripes – keep asking it to.

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Universal basic income among policies to be debated at Liberal policy convention

Globe and Mail

The federal Liberals are poised to debate a wide range of policy ideas, including proposals for universal basic income and national standards for long-term care, at a convention this week that will lay out direction for the party ahead of a possible federal election.

The convention is taking place at a critical moment for the Liberals, who are preparing for the prospect of a forthcoming campaign less than two years into their minority mandate. 

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Basic income program could cut national poverty rates in half, PBO says

Global News

The parliamentary budget officer says a basic income program similar to one previously studied in Ontario could cut poverty rates nationally by almost half in 2022.

The reductions are not even across provinces, but budget officer Yves Giroux estimates that poverty rates could fall as much as 61.9 per cent in Manitoba or as little as 13.5 per cent in Newfoundland and Labrador if the federal government instituted the program. At its core a basic or guaranteed income provides a no-strings-attached government benefit to citizens to provide each with a minimum amount of earnings.

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Editorial: Our budget wish list

The Lindsay Advocate

All eyes are on Chrystia Freeland now as Canada’s finance minister gets set to table the nation’s first budget in two years. Here are a few things we hope to see.

Basic income: The Liberals’ own grassroots and many MPs are interested in this forward-thinking policy, as are the NDP and Green Party. This policy would be the linchpin in a plan to eliminate poverty. Time to put faith in an upstream policy – getting to the source of social policy ills, which is often income -- that will prevent poverty and poor health.

Pharmacare: Universal pharmacare is the missing piece of Tommy Douglas’s Medicare legacy. We want everyone to have access to a common list of drugs and free from co-pays.

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Will a universal basic income reduce inequality?

In The Black

The idea of a universal basic income has divided economists for years. Some argue that the payment offers a solution to poverty, while others say it would do little to address inequality.

At a glance

  • The concept of a universal basic income (UBI) has been a divisive one among economists for many years, but has recently attracted renewed interest amid the economic fallout from COVID-19.
  • The interest in a UBI stems from an overall sentiment that current economic policies have not delivered adequately and that more radical measures are needed.
  • Economists are concerned that a UBI can compromise the public funding of vital services such as health and education, and believe reforms of the welfare system are a better approach.

It should come as little surprise that the once-radical concept of a universal basic income (UBI) is now openly discussed among some mainstream economists as a possible means of reducing social inequality.

After all, the widespread economic fall-out of the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken many people’s faith in the free market, with mass job losses on a scale not seen since the Great Depression.

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NABIG: Call for proposals for virtual basic income conference

The 19th North American Basic Income Guarantee Congress will be held virtually June 17-19, 2021.

Theme: Basic Income: Knowledge, Activism, Policy

The program committee is now accepting proposals for papers, panels, roundtables, organizing meetings, and artistic events.

Proposals on any topic involving basic income will be considered, but the organizing committee is particularly interested in papers and other events focused on:
● What we have learned from the year of responses to the pandemic and economic crisis
● Ways to move from crisis responses (such as one-time cash payments) to permanent
● Results from basic income and guaranteed income pilot programs in North America and
● Cross-national comparisons, what people in the US (and elsewhere) can learn from what
has been tried in Canada, and vice versa, etc.
● Prospects for activism and advocacy at municipal, provincial/state, and federal levels
● How basic income intersects with the aims and strategies of other social movements
working for racial, social, and environmental justice
● The rise of basic income in the cultural sphere

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The case for a universal basic income

Brock Press

If you were to ask people just a few years ago what they thought about universal basic income (UBI), you likely would have heard a lot of confusion and pessimism about the idea, myself included. The first time I heard about UBI was in 2017 and I was initially very dismissive of the concept.

Jump to today and thanks to growing exposure to the idea, on top of the economic impact of the pandemic, the idea of a UBI has become a lot less foreign and a lot less scary to people.

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